The Spiritist Review - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1861

Allan Kardec

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The Banner of Light, a New York journal from May 18th, 1861 brings the following:

“Deeming the following extraordinary facts worthy of being placed upon record in an authenticated form, we forward them to the Banner for publication, with our signatures attached, as evidence that they occurred in our presence, and under the herein stated.

On Wednesday evening, May 1st, we met the medium H.M. Fay, by appointment, at the residence of Mr. W. B. Hallock, in New York. The medium seated himself near a table, upon which were placed a tin horn, a violin and three separate pieces of small-sized bed-cord. The company were seated in a semi-circle in front of the medium, and the table six or eight inches from them, and with their hands joined, which gave every member of the circle the assurance that his neighbors on his right and left, retained their position in every one of the experiments herein related. The lights were then put out and the company ordered to sing. In a few minutes, a light was called for. The medium was found still seating in his chair, with his hands crossed behind him at the wrists, which were firmly tied together, the knots being between the wrists, and the rope being wrapped around each wrist so tightly as to press into the flesh and obstruct the venous circulation, so that the hands became much swollen. The ends of the rope were then passed upon the inside of the back of the chair, and then brought round and tied, one to each of the front legs of the chair. Another rope was found wrapped firmly around his legs, just above his knees, and tied tightly, while a third rope secured his ankles in the same manner. In this condition, we were satisfied that the medium could neither have tied himself, nor could he untie himself, nor use his hands, nor walk, nor rise from his chair. A member of the circle then placed a sheet of white paper upon the floor, under the medium’s feet, with a pencil upon the paper. The light was put out, and, almost immediately, the horn was seized by a power of same kind, and struck upon the table and the floor repeatedly, rapidly, and very violently, so as to make deep indentations in the table. A mouth also seemed to be applied to the horn, and conversed through it, freely and rather jocularly, at times, with the members of the circle. The articulation of the words was as distinct as that of a person in the form when speaking through a horn. The sound was that of a full male voice, and the tone somewhat louder than the tone of common conversation. Another voice, fainter, somewhat guttural, and with a less distinct articulation, also, at times, conversed with the company. A light was called for, and the medium was found still in his chair, bound hand and foot, as already described, and his feet within the pencil lines that had been traced around them. The light was again put out, and soon the horn commenced its pounding and its talking as before. The circle was next told to sing, and the manifestations apparently ceased; but at the call for the light, the ropes were found removed from the medium’s ankles and knees; his hands, however, were still tied, as already described, and his feet within the pencil lines upon the with paper. Again the light was put out, and again the pounding and the talking through the horn were resumed. Then, followed an order for singing, which was continued for a few moments, when the light was called for, and the medium was found untied, sitting in his chair, with his feet within the pencil lines. This closed the first series of manifestations.

The light was again put out, and after a few moments singing by the circle, the light was struck, and the medium was found tied with one rope around his ankles, with another just below his knees, while with a third his wrists were tied in front of him, even more tightly than before, and then lashed to his right tight. A member of the circle then tied his limbs to the chair, and putting a sheet of white paper under his feet, traced with a pencil the outlines of his feet as before. A bell was also put upon the table and the light extinguished, as before, there was pounding upon the floor and table with the horn, and talking through the horn; then the bell was lifted from the table and rung very loudly, about midway between the medium and the circle, and seeming to sweep over an arc of five or six feet at each stroke of the clapper. During the ring of the bell the medium repeatedly in a loud voice, exclaimed: “I am here, I am here,” thus assuring us that he was still in his chair, while the bell was at a considerable distance from him. The light was ordered, and the medium was found still tied as described, with his feet within the pencil lines.

A large bright spot, an inch and a half in diameter, was now made upon the back of the violin by rubbing it with phosphorus. The light was put out, and very soon the violin rose six or seven feet above the floor and floated rapidly around in the air, making a large sweep at times, of seven or eight feet. In its movements it could easily be followed by the eye, as the phosphorescent spot made upon it was distinctly visible; it was also easily followed by the ear, as its strings were thumbed upon during its flight. As the violin floated around, the medium repeatedly exclaimed in a loud voice: “I am here, I am here,” giving us the assurance that he was still in his chair and not following the violin in its movements. The light was called for, and the medium was found tied, as already described, and his feet within the pencil lines.

A member of the circle next placed a tumbler half full of water upon the table and a slip of paper between the medium’s lips. The light was then extinguished. After a few moments singing by the circle the light was ordered, and the tumbler was found empty, with no trace of the water upon the table or the floor, the medium being still tied as last described, his feet within the pencil lines, and the paper between his lips dry. Again the light was put out, and again relighted in a few moments, when the medium was found untied. This closed the second series of experiments.

Mrs. Spence, now sat near the medium, and facing him. A gentleman then sat between the two, so as to place his right foot upon Mrs. Spence’s feet, his right hand upon the medium’s head, and his left hand upon Mrs. Spence’s head. The medium then grasped the gentleman’s right arm with both hands, each hand grasping at separate places, while Mrs. Spence grasped the gentleman’s left arm in the same way. The light was put out, and after a short interval, it was again struck up, when the parties were observed to be still in the relative position just described.

The gentleman then stated, that neither the medium’s nor Mrs. Spence’s hands had been removed from his arms; yet, while the light was out, he distinctly felt the fingers of a hand playing upon his face, pull his nose, slap him upon the cheek, making a noise that was heard by the rest of the circle; also that he was repeatedly tapped over the head with the violin, making a noise that was perceptible to all present.

Another gentleman then took the first gentleman’s place, and he also stated that he was handled and struck in the same way; and so each member of the circle, taking, in turn, the position just described, testified to having been touched, handled and struck about the face and head, by what seemed to be a hand, and sometimes also by the violin; all, however, while the light was extinguished, but while the medium’s hands and feet and also Mrs. Spence’s were secured as described. This closed the third series of experiments, in all of which, as well as in those first two series, we are satisfied that the manifestations were not produced either by Mr. Fay or by any member of the circle.

Yours truly,

Charles Patridge, R. T. Hallock, Mrs. Sarah P. Clark, Mrs. Mary S. Hallock, Mrs. Amanda, M. Spence, Miss Alla Britt, William Blondel, William P. Coles, W. B. Hallock, B. Franklin Clark, Peyton Spence.

New York, May 3, 1861.”

OBSERVATION: We don’t deny the possibility of all these things and we have no reason to doubt the honorability of the countersigners, despite the fact that we don’t know them. However, we stand behind our thoughts given in our last issue regarding the two articles about the mysterious drawings and the exploitation of Spiritism. Some say that such exploitation does not shock public opinion in America and that they find it very natural that mediums may seek compensation. That is understandable in a country where time is money. That will not preclude us from saying what we have already said in another article: that the absolute altruism is an even better guarantor than all physical precautions.

If our texts have contributed to cast discredit upon the self-serving mediumship in France and elsewhere we believe that this is not the least service done to serious Spiritism. These general thoughts are not absolutely directed to Mr. Fay whose position before the public we ignore.

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